Netafim, a world leader in precision irrigation will establish water infrastructure in Rwanda

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by Ifi Reporter Category:Agriculture Dec 12, 2021

Netafim, a world leader in precision irrigation, is in the advanced stages of implementing a regional development project and training it for agricultural cultivation in eastern Rwanda. The joint venture between the Rwandan government (90%) and Netafim (10%) will establish water infrastructure and prepare land for the purpose of leasing it to local farmers and foreign investors in agriculture. Netafim will also be the operating contractor for the project, whose total investment in its first phase is $ 60 million, and Netafim's share in it reaches $ 50 million.
Netafim, managed by Gabi Miodobnik, prepares in the first phase of the Gabiro Agribusiness Hub project 56,000 dunams for agriculture, intended for local farmers (26,000 dunams) and international companies (30,000 dunams) in the Nyagatare area in eastern Rwanda. The project includes connection to a water source, layout of the infrastructure and installation of advanced irrigation systems. Upon completion of the project, local and foreign farmers will enjoy immediately prepared plots for agricultural cultivation and advanced infrastructure, including remote control and monitoring of the water transmission systems.
The investment in the project will be repaid from the lease fees charged by the joint venture from the farmers, similar to the commercial relationship between WeWork and tenants of work complexes. Another source of revenue for the venture will be services it will provide to them while utilizing its centralized purchasing power.
Elad Levy, Netafim's VP and Director of Asia and Africa, explains that Netafim initiated the project to address the Rwandan government's need to develop the drought-stricken area of ‚Äč‚Äčeastern Rwanda through high value-added agricultural crops such as papaya and avocado, improve crops, and increase employment and Foreign exchange earnings.
According to him, the areas designated for commercial companies will allow international companies and governments, some of them from the Persian Gulf, which suffer from a shortage of water and land resources, to provide quality agricultural produce to their residents. Levy noted that almost all of the project areas designated for commercial companies have been allocated to international investors, and that Netafim is in talks with other African governments about carrying out projects in the same format in their territories.
The project will allow local farmers to grow agricultural crops throughout the year and in all weather conditions, saving 50% in water compared to other irrigation methods, and growing tens of percent in crops. Levy noted that one of the factors that helped Netafim convince the Rwandan government of the project's viability was the presentation of data proving that use of Netafim irrigation systems led to an increase in the average corn crop yield from 2.5 tonnes to 4.0 tonnes per hectare (10 hectares).
Netafim believes that the product markets in the Rwanda project will be in the Middle East, mainly in the Gulf states, and estimates that the project will be expanded later and in the second phase, 100,000 dunams will be trained in a similar way.
Miodobnik, CEO of Netafim, said the project in Rwanda is part of Netafim's strategy to grow by expanding its geographical spread, for example to a market with great potential like Dubai following the Abraham agreements, entering new crops - such as developing drip irrigation systems for rice crops - and developing new business models based on Collaborations with local governments in countries like India and countries in Africa.

Photo: Netafim

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